Global warming came to our lovely town last week and she has overstayed her welcome. I’ve lived in Portland for 35 years and this last couple of summers have been much less predictable than usual… it might be time to consider getting married in our cooler months… maybe give up on some of the scorching sunny weekends that have always been so popular. This weekend found me at two weddings where we had to change up our portrait plans to save ourselves. In the process, I had to step away from the ideas previously set and aim us in different directions.
Monday’s wedding was set for the Blue Sky Gallery in the Park Blocks… a cool and cozy space for an intimate crowd. Kira and Terry requested that I be available to take portraits of their guests so, during brunch, I looked in all of the corners of the venue to see if I could avoid taking people out into the hard, hot light. A very small space behind the piano and the window display caught my eye so I asked the couple who attended to the bride to come sit for me. I was quite intrigued by the tones and the clothes in that small, graphic space. Since they could be seen from the other end of the room, I was pleasantly surprised to have a steady stream of subjects come play in that space, including the bride and groom.
New Mexico was a game changer in my life.
In 1994, I stashed most of my ego into a back pocket and signed up for a workshop in Santa Fe… it was a little rough for a very short time. My photographic education was completely homespun to this point. My parents were both serious photographers, if not full time professionals… they had vision and enthusiasm to spare but technique, in our small house, was limited. So I brought a bit of a chip to this class and discovered, to my delight, that I was in a crowd of my peers… we were all there to fine tune a thing we already knew.
Long story short, I found that a solid week of photography and photographers was a balm to my inner skin… no phones, no real housework, no outside life… no contest.
The textures and light that make up Santa Fe and it’s near neighbors were a healing time to me and they return to tease my mind on many a grey day here.
My teacher that amazing week was Kent Barker. Out of Dallas at the time, he was subtle and easy to talk to… a sweet sense of humor, his work was very strong.
He took us two hours north of Santa Fe to his friend’s art gallery in Tres Piedras… a hot pink adobe schoolhouse sitting all by itself on the Taos Mesa.
Imagine 18 photographers, 10 white dogs and a stormy afternoon sky… it was like a dream.
New Mexico pulled me back for many trips in the next seven years. I went until I couldn’t afford to go again but I am not done.
My camera will dance under those wide skies again some day.